WSBB Blog: Max Effort Upper for the Football Lineman

WSBB Education
Tue Jan 12, 2021

Tags: Max Effort, Conjugate, Football

Time To Read: 4min

In the game of football, linemen are the anchor of both the offense and the defense. Having a strong and athletic offensive line creates more opportunities for the quarterback to make plays and stay injury free, while having a strong and athletic defensive line disrupts the offensive game plan by applying constant pressure on the quarterback. When it comes to training linemen, max effort upper training becomes necessary to create the strongest athlete possible.

The Westside Barbell Method provides many different ways for linemen to reach elite levels of upper body strength, here are a few main and accessory exercises we recommend on max effort upper day for linemen.

Close Grip Bench Press

The close grip bench press is a great way for linemen to bench press. The movement directly mimics the optimal hand placement a lineman looks for when engaging with an opposing player on the field. The athlete should grip the bar with their hands the same distance apart as they would be if they were executing a block. Work up to a max effort single or triple. Close grip bench press can also be used as an accessory exercise to increase strength endurance.

This exercise should be done for three to five sets of eight to ten reps, add in a two or three board to increase the tricep focus.

Axle Bar Floor Press

Continuing on the idea of developing strong arms, axle bar floor press is one of the best ways to strengthen the triceps and shoulders while having the grip in a disadvantageous position. Instead of using a close grip that is more familiar to the way you would block an opponent, you will want to use a competition style bench press grip. This exercise can be done for a max effort single, or triple. Attaching bands or chains is a great way to add an increased demand on the triceps.

If you want to include this exercise into your accessory work, we recommend three to five sets of five to eight reps.

Clean and Press

When it comes to building strength and athleticism, the clean and press is one of the best exercises an athlete can do. You can do this exercise with a standard olympic bar, or a log if you have access to one. For max effort, work up to a top set single.

For accessory work, keep the barbell weight around 75-80% performing three to five sets of five reps. Considering the increased skill level the clean and press calls for, we recommend starting out by working up to the heaviest weight you can do while maintaining near perfect form. When it comes to olympic style lifts, strict form must be adhered to in order to avoid injury.

These are just a few of the exercises necessary to build the strongest lineman possible. If you want to become a strong athlete you must not only train hard, you must train smart. Getting stronger or more proficient at the wrong things will only waste energy and frustrate an athlete, choosing the proper exercises is of the utmost importance. As an offensive or defensive lineman, you can rapidly increase your upper body strength and sport performance by implementing the above exercises into your programming. Keep an eye out for more information regarding Westside Barbell’s approach to training football players, and as always stay strong.